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Anger: Wisdom for Cooling the Flames Hardcover – September 10, 2001

4.5 out of 5 stars 223 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Anger can be one of the most frustrating emotions, carrying us headlong away from ourselves and depositing us into separation and dismay. Vietnamese monk and world teacher Thich Nhat Hanh tackles this most difficult of emotions in Anger. A master at putting complex ideas into simple, colorful packages, Nhat Hanh tells us that, fundamentally, to be angry is to suffer, and that it is our responsibility to alleviate our own suffering. The way to do this is not to fight our emotions or to "let it all out" but to transform ourselves through mindfulness. Emphasizing our basic interdependence, he teaches us how to help others through deep listening and how to water the positive seeds in those around us while starving the negative seeds. Serious though lighthearted, Anger is a handbook not only for transforming anger but for living each moment beautifully. --Brian Bruya

From Publishers Weekly

In an age of road rage, Americans would do well to cool down with prolific Buddhist monk Hanh (Living Buddha, Living Christ). There is plenty in this small volume worth skipping, such as Hanh's tedious call for "Healing the Wounded Child Within." And some of his advice is banal (e.g., if a husband is angry at his wife, he should tell her). But some of Hanh's suggestions cut refreshingly against the grain. He dissents, for example, from the popular therapeutic wisdom to "express our anger": when we beat a pillow to get rid of our feelings, he insists we are merely "rehearsing" our anger, not "reducing" it. Hanh reminds us that anger begins and ends with ourselves we may feel that we are mad at our wife or son, but really we are the direct objects of our rage. Hanh doesn't limit his task to discussing anger between families and friends; he also deals with anger among countries and between citizens and governments. That expansive vision is not surprising (Hanh, after all, is a Nobel Peace Prize nominee) but it is refreshing, lifting this book out of the self-absorbed self-help pile. Like Hanh's other books, this is not weighed down with Buddhist terminology. The appendices, which contain meditations designed to help release anger, give it the specifically Buddhist spice that some readers will appreciate. The meat of the book, however, will be accessible to a broad, ecumenical audience.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Riverhead Hardcover; First Edition edition (September 10, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1573221872
  • ISBN-13: 978-1573221870
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (223 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #108,012 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is not a well designed book addressing Anger. Rather, this is a rehash of Thich Nhat Hanh's message concerning mindful living. Hanh's message is powerful and valuable; it is not well crafted to be responsive to those seeking to resolve Anger. Like the evangelicals of the 70s who gave the answer to all of life's problems, "trust Jesus," Hanh gives a similar superficial answer to the problem of Anger, "trust mindful living." If you have not read Hanh, I highly recommend it. But if you need to deal with Anger, this really wont help. His first solution to anger is to eat only organic food, where anger is not a part of the creation of the food. As a vegetarian, I have a lot of sympathy for that message; I just do not think it is an appropriate first message for someone struggling with Anger. Then he suggests making a peace treaty with the one with whom you have anger. Well that belies the circumstances where anger is a real struggle. There are some circumstances where anger is an issue and "peace treaties" are not possible - such as dealing with people with emotional disabilities. And then there are abuse situations where you should not make a peace treaty: just because I acknowledge that a Tiger is a tiger, and do not hate the tiger, does not mean I try to make personal friends with the tiger. Their are certain contexts, that cause a lot of anger, where reconciliation with the cause of conflict is not the appropriate answer. Bottom line: I found the book superficial suggesting that all of lifes ills can be cured through simple answers. Read Hanh; skip this book.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
How timely - a book on Anger that arrives just after the tragedy of Sept. 11. Timely, yet timeless. To me, this book titled "Anger" is really a book about love in every possible meaning of the word. What are the things that usually make us angry, but those things that make us feel unloved - those things that make us, or those people or beliefs that we cherish, feel dishonored, disrespected, excluded and ignored. This books shows how to get into the heart of those feelings and into the heart and soul of those who treat us this way. But most important of all is the simplicity of the language and honesty of the message. I have read a lot of deeply spiritual books by many authors of many different religions and belief systems - but none are as PRACTCAL and REAL as this. This is written by a person who clearly has shared these very human feelings that we all have and yet he is a monk. How often have we NEEDED to have our spirtual teachers be perfect and yet find that perfection impossible to reach ourselves. Yet here is a monk who has clearly felt these same feelings as we have - looked deeply into them and learned how to transform them into love. These simple methods he shares in this book. There is NO judgement, NO criticism, NO shame only pure heartfelt and deep understanding of the human condition by a human being who is sharing very real ways for all of us to HEAL.
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Format: Hardcover
I picked up this book knowing of Thich Nhat Hanh and thinking it might be interesting to see what he had to say. As a psychotherapist I found his insight into the condition of emotional blindness stunning. I have to say that I seldom feel enthusiastic enough about a book to recomend it particularly highly and I have never written a review for Amazon before, this is a first for me. I write it out of deeply felt gratitude to TNH. This book contains insights into how Anger and ohter emotions take hold of us and how we can change the state we are in for the better. Notice I say change the state for we cannot 'get rid of' only transform what we have. TNH explains this with great clarity, sincerity, simplicity and compassion. He is convincing and compelling, interesting and enjoyable to read.
his meditative suggestions are also simple and expound the idea of meditation in a unique way. this way is surely 'the way' and is explained so that meditation will never, at least for me be the same again.
if you suffer anger or other emotional woes read this book. I feel certain that it will give you a tremedous and new perspective into your suffering and how best to deal with it.
TNH uses analogies that make it so simple you almost kick yourself for not understanding before. He shows us that you don't need endless psychology degrees or the patience of a saint to have cope with emotions. He explains why compassion heels us as well as others.
If you read only one book on zen Buddhism read this one...
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Format: Hardcover
As a counsellor I have seen first hand how people react when tragedy and loss invade our lives. First we weep, we grieve and then that grief often gives way to anger. It is okay to feel all those emotions; it is part of human nature. What is important is that we deal with our emotions in a positive, constructive manner. Violence leads to more violence, hated breeds more hate, revenge does not bring us true happiness.
Thich Nhat Hanh has been a Buddhist monk since the age of sixteen and has written hundreds of books aimed at helping us deal with the trials and tribulations of day-to-day living. This particular book focuses on anger and quelling the raging fires within. No doubt, there are many fires burning within many citizens around the world as a result of the horrendous terrorist acts in America. Reading this particular book will not resolve the world's problems; it does, however, have the potential to help the reader deal with anger. Anger can be one of the most powerful, all-consuming, self-destructive emotions known to mankind if not dealt with in a constructive manner. It has destroyed relationships and divided countries. Left untethered, it eats away little by little at the soul and very core of our being.
Thich Nhat Hanh is a learned, compassionate man who has the ability to make people see the positive light in virtually every situation. This book is no exception. He reminds us that anger begins and ends with ourselves. Nhat Hanh has the ability to take a complex situation, wrap it up with a bow and deliver it to us as a saving grace. His words of wisdom will help soothe the ravaged soul. Also recommended reading by this author are "Peace is Every Step", "The Heart of Buddha" and "Teachings on Love"; all are five-star books, highly recommended and well worth reading.
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